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November 4, 2022
Explaining (representations) of a heap of pebbles. Disambiguation in digital humanities

Increasing human reliance on computational methods and techniques of learning, reasoning, and explanation have consequences for digital humanities. With many representations of artefacts and sources, older source critical approaches and newer digital source criticism approaches, face numerous challenges. In this workshop, we invite researchers engaged with the digital humanities to present, exchange and discuss their different perspectives on disambiguation in the digital humanities.

July 18, 2022
Historical Data Network Analysis A Workshop dedicated to Polish Cultural Heritage Institutions

This workshop is dedicated to experts from cultural heritage institutions and students who want to develop their skills connected to networks and digital humanities.Digital technologies and infrastructural approaches still have a great potential in the humanities, but the humanities face challenges from the transition from traditional theory and methods to computationally-based research opportunities. Network analysis helps with the integration of close-reading and distance-reading in hermeneutic interpretive frameworks. It also enables geographic, network, and diagrammatic visualisations.

March 23-25, 2022
Workshop Funding from the Europeana Research Grant Programme

It is our pleasure to inform you that Prof. Francis Harvey (WH UW) together with the Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences organise a workshop funded by the Europeana Research Grant Programme to explore how to develop historical geodata for cultural institutions. The workshop takes place 23-25 March 2022 at the University of Warsaw. The workshop informs discussions in Poland on providing crowdsourcing of geospatial cultural heritage data, identifying research needs and institutional needs for standardization, considering data infrastructure issues and paths for development, and aligning with European cultural heritage activities. The workshop will be held in a hybrid format and live streamed.

About the project

Digital technologies and infrastructure approaches continue to have vast potential following the spatial turn in the humanities, but the humanities face challenges arising with the transition of traditional theory and methods to computationally-based scientific research possibilities. With available digital data, the question “Where” has now become a meaningful research focus at multiple resolutions and for a wide range of situations and relationships. This research project tackles the limits arising for spatial/temporal research in the digital humanities with the cartographic map’s two-dimensional representations and the absence of concise temporal information. Resolving these challenges involves bootstrapping spatial humanities digital humanities tools and methods with interpretative and explanatory theory and methods in a flexible framework using contemporary digital humanities tools. The pragmatic focus on developing novel integrated toolkits using graph database frameworks supports the integration of close-reading and distance-reading in hermeneutic interpretive framework and support of geographic, network and diagrammatic visualisations. The project relies on digital humanities data from Polish data infrastructure and projects to discover new ways to support humanities and social science scientific discovery. It interfaces through Polish digital humanities infrastructures. Drawing on 25 years of GIS-related research and technology development work in Germany and the US, the visiting professorship of Francis Harvey spearheads innovative new theories, methods and visual-spatial humanities approaches for researchers and heritage institutions. International scientific workshops support the research. Outcomes include publications from these workshops, an edited monograph in spatial humanities, and the first spatial humanities hermeneutics that connects distant reading methods with close reading interpretation.

The PPE-project receives support from the Polish NAWA-Program (number of application: PPN/PRO/2020/1/00004), National Science Foundation (NCN) and Faculty of History, University of Warsaw.

Project activities

The project develops digital humanities capacities and researches new approaches in the spatial humanities. Involvement in DARIAH-PL and the European Time Machine project’s proof of concept supports the integration of spatial/temporal aspects in the project’s activities. The project develops two toolkits. One toolkit for the interpretative analysis of historical spatio-temporal data; the second for the presentation of historical spatio-temporal data. Both toolkits employ grounded spatial/temporal modeling and use visualization and graph databases, especially open-source software. Cooperation with researchers from the Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences  provides access to digital data of places, people and events to develop the interpretative analysis and digital representations in the first half of the project. In the second half, the project will connect more closely with DARIAH-PL and work with historical data from their data infrastructure as well. The emphasis on workshops for graduate and post-doctoral researchers and professionals from Polish heritage institutions in the second half of the project integrates the research capacities and toolkits for the development of future digital humanities research in Poland and abroad. These activities support the institutional development of digital humanities capacities and contribute to the creation of a sustainable network for continued research and development of institutional capacities. The prototypes, developed with input from Polish and international researchers, are critical outcomes with a long-term perspective beyond the scope of the project.

The project activities develop digital humanities research to advance existing integrations of hermeneutical modelling and representations with machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches to support historical-geographical analysis. The overall approach follows Alan Liu’s “the human in the loop” digital humanities hermeneutics concepts and 3) graph network and cartographic presentations integrated with modelling for the interpretation or explanation of historical data. The resulting toolkits are the basis for a new generation of digital humanities projects. The project aspires for an international research presence through collaborations that utilise the new frameworks and toolkits and with national cooperative support with national, regional and local heritage institutes and professionals from post-secondary education. International and national workshops support these activities.

Project goals

The ambition of the project is to develop hermeneutic capabilities to address important „Where” and „What for” questions. Any two-dimensional map, with its reduction of temporal aspects to a timelessness, can only remain a poor surrogate for the historical complexity involved in developing and providing insights to these questions. The complexities and spatial ambiguities involved are substantial challenges and opportunities for research. The toolkit approach supports interactions with human interpretative and explanatory capabilities and uses the modelling of spatial/temporal phenomena with distant reading and close reading.

The following eight points describe the specific research objectives the project sets out to achieve:

  • Develop and refine interpretation and explanation tools and visualisations to support spatial humanities hermeneutics
  • Support modelling of spatial/temporal complexity, usability and comprehension using semantic modelling
  • Functional support of interpretation and explanation processes using graph databases, geovisual and diagrammatic integrated components
  • Support and assess situational or grounded theoretical approaches in hermeneutic interpretation with integrated distant reading and close reading
  • Develop and refine interface and interaction approaches to support interpretation and explanation activities
  • Address structured and unstructured data storage and infrastructural issues
  • Extend functions to support the inclusion of non-verified user data
  • Enhance impact by developing broader application and use the potential of tools


The PPE-project receives support from the Polish NAWA-Program (number of application: PPN/PRO/2020/1/00004), National Science Foundation (NCN) and Faculty of History, University of Warsaw.




The project is co-financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange within the NAWA Chair programme